Tired of looking at your plain white walls? Display some art already.
“Wall galleries are a great way for people who aren’t necessarily ‘artsy’ to add an artistic feel to their rooms,” says Chrissy Droessler, co-founder of the online custom framing company Framed & Matted. “The best part is that there’s no right or wrong way. Just do what you feel.” She helps us get started.
Figure out your layout before hanging
“One of the biggest mistakes that people make while creating wall galleries is hanging individual pieces up before they actually have an idea of the layout,” says Droessler. She suggests laying the frames out on the floor first to organize your gallery. Doing so gives you a clearer picture of the outcome. “Also, if your goal is an eclectic gallery wall, you want to have frames in various sizes,” she says. “If you want a clean, crisp look, then the frames should be hung in line, either as a column, as a grid wall or as a few rows.”
Start with an anchor piece
“When building a gallery wall with different-size frames, it’s helpful have the largest work as the ‘anchor’ so the other works can be added around this piece,” says Droessler. “As you add frames, keep the frame wall balanced. By doing this you can naturally build out the wall over time and it will always look like one unit.” Droessler adds, “It’s important to hang the anchor off center, otherwise you run the risk of your eye only focusing on the large center frame, when what you want is the whole group of frames to be the focus. So by putting it off center and hanging the other frames around the anchor, the gallery wall looks like a cohesive unit.”
Keep the center of your gallery at eye-level
“Hang art at eye-level, with the center of the artwork at 60 inches off the floor,” says Droessler. This way the frames are at a comfortable place for people to view. “Hang the work too high, and people have to crane their necks, making it less fun to look at.”
Choose the right frames
Keep it simple, advises Droessler. “The focus should be on the artwork and not the frame. Simple white or black frames look great with photographs or modern art. But really any frame that is simple and enhances the artwork is a good choice.” If you want to add a splash of color, she suggests using a colorful mat. “To get the right mat, choose a color that is in the art,” she says. “If you do not want to commit to a large bright mat, a good option is to get a double mat, with a white top mat and a colorful bottom mat. With the mat, the same frame principal applies — the mat should enhance the art, not draw the focus away from the art.”
Dos and don’ts
• Do a gallery that isn’t too static and can always evolve and change.
• Don’t start hanging frames before your vision of the gallery is clear.
• Do consider the color scheme of your framing in correlation with the room layout or style.
• Don’t freak out! Gallery walls can be intimidating, because they look so cool, but don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Take it one frame at a time.